From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
No fewer than four people have perished and fifteen others have been arrested for partaking in a protest that led to vandalism and destructions of properties in Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State.
The protest, which lasted for three days, was said to be a result of the tussle to fill the vacant stool of Mai Tangle, the paramount ruler of Tangale Chiefdom in Gombe State.
Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, who was in Abuja as of the time of the violent protest, had on Saturday visited the affected areas and called for calm after imposing from dusk to dawn curfew in the locality.
The governor, who had announced the suspension of the selection process for the new Mai Tangle, summoned the state Security Council to a meeting to discuss further proactive measures to prevent escalation of the violence.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the enlarged meeting which involves chairmen of the 11 local government areas at the Government House on Monday, the state Commissioner of Internal Security and Ethical Orientation, Mr Maji Batari Zambuk, explained that ‘the council expresses sadness over the senseless killings and destruction of people’s property in Billiri with religious and political undertones.’
He stated that security agencies have been directed to fish out and prosecute groups or individuals spreading fake news as it was believed to have played a role in the violence.
‘The Council expresses dismay over the spread of fake news, especially through social media by some unscrupulous elements who try to create a scenario of situations that were never there,’ he said.
The commissioner disclosed that 15 out of the 16 suspects arrested in connection with the attacks will soon be arraigned before a court of law. He said: ‘The 16 suspect is a security personnel who is still under further investigation.’
While explaining that an assessment team will be set up to determine the persons affected, properties destroyed and lives lost with a view to offering support to the victims, Mr Zambuk stated that security personnel are on the trail of the suspected masterminds of the mayhem.
‘So far four corpses have been recovered by the police. In view of the severity of the attacks, the government has taken proactive measures in engaging with religious groups and all other stakeholders with a view to averting reprisal attacks with directives to Chairmen of LGA to put churches under security surveillance to forestall likely attacks by some unscrupulous elements,’ the commissioner stated.